updated 10:20 am EST, Mon December 17, 2007
3G iPhone is 'niche tech'
Although a 3G iPhone has been guaranteed for 2008, its importance has been overrated, says Shaw Wu of American Technology Research. HSPA 3G is intermittent in Europe and Japan, Wu says, let alone in the United States; so while the technology can offer speeds up to 3.6Mbps (through the likes of AT&T), users end up defaulting to 2G technologies such as EDGE most of the time. 3G also comes with increased costs: parts such as power amplifiers may add as much as $15 to the price of building a phone, an amount that may then be saddled onto the backs of shoppers.
As Apple itself and other analysts have noted, 3G is additionally a sharp drain on batteries, consuming between 35 to 40 percent more power than standard data access. Apple is unlikely to implement 3G until it can provide as much battery life as the current iPhone.
Wu says that based on information from supply chains, a 3G iPhone will only ship in the middle of 2008 at the earliest, possibly later as demands dictate. In the meantime, Apple stock is expected to continue increasing within the next six to 12 months, reaching a target value of $210.